Reader Request: I lack the confidence to trust my own judgment on style.
Seems like I’m always trying to balance between comfort and what looks great and not sure whether I get it right.
It doesn’t help that I’m often asking my husband who would say “you look great” if I was wearing a potato sack. :blush:
I need to learn to trust myself. Have you any tips on doing this?
And I know this reader is not alone – many women have told me that they want to feel stylish but lack confidence.
So how can you develop your style confidence?
1. Incremental Changes to Your Style
Rather than throwing out your whole wardrobe and starting again – which is not practical for most women (unless you have Oprah-type budgets, but even then, there is no guarantee that you’ll like anything that’s currently in stores), instead, make small incremental changes – baby steps – that will help you to achieve this over time. This is what I developed my Evolve Your Style challenge to help you do – to experiment with one small thing each day that over a month moves your style forwards by leaps and bounds.
I wasn’t born with style, and you don’t have to have been either! I see my own style as hugely improved year after year as I’ve made a conscious decision to keep on learning and growing and experimenting. It’s all about getting tye style education and then putting that knowledge to good use!
2. Know What Works for Your Physically
Rather than flying (or shopping) blind, you need to know what actually works for your body – your body shape, body proportion, body variations – so that you can create your own body guidelines and then shop with way more confidence as you know what shapes to try on and what to avoid. Shapes, styles and fabrics of clothing relate to harmony with your physicality, so getting these style fundamentals sorted out and having the knowledge and education you need to make the best choices is a skillset that you most likely, didn’t learn at school or growing up, which is why it’s such a struggle.
Your colours are also important – the right ones make you look more vibrant and healthy, the wrong will make you look tired, or even ill (as my mustard yellow jumper made me look, before I discovered my best colours).
Knowing what’s in harmony with your physicality is one of the first keys to developing style confidence as it gives you a map or set of directions to follow that keep you on the right path so that you don’t buy into those “must have” lists where the garments have nothing to do with your style (and no, not everyone needs a white shirt in their closet).
This is why I’ve created my free body shape calculator quiz so you can find out what works for your body shape, it’s a great starting point. And if you want to really get to grips with your complete physicality then please do join my 7 Steps to Style program which is aimed at giving you the knowledge you need to develop your own authentic style.
3. How Do You Want to Be Perceived?
The next question is knowing who you are and how you want to be perceived by others?
Clothing is a powerful form of non-verbal communication and you can harness its power really easily (just as characters in movies and TV use costumes to express something about who they are).
Imagine you’re walking into a room of people who know you, what would you like them to say (complete this sentence):
There’s X she’s always …..
What would you like people to say about you?
How about a room full of people who don’t know you? What would you like them to pick, up about you? What personality traits? What do you want them to think?
When you can identify 3-6 adjectives that encapsulate what you want people to think, it’s way easier to start to develop a style that will express this and that will give you the confidence you desire.
4. Who Are You?
What’s your personality and how can you express that through your style? Personality influences all our style choices, our likes, and dislikes, from fabrics to prints and patterns, to details and accessories. In fact, as I wrote here, personality influences way more aspects of clothing choices than body shape, which is why it’s the first step in my 7 Steps to Style. If you don’t understand how to express your personality through your style in an authentic way, one that feels genuine and the best version of you, then you’ll always struggle to feel confident in what you’re wearing.
5. Style Confidence Comes from Doing
Confidence in any skill comes from doing, rather than just thinking about it, which is why you have to get the education and then put it into practice. It’s also from assessing your wardrobe and getting rid of the clothes that don’t make you feel great. When you have a wardrobe of clothes you know look good because they fit all your criteria, it’s really easy to feel confident!
Experiment, Practice and Evolve
So every day, since you have to get dressed, you have ample opportunity to experiment and put into practice what you learn about what does work for you, take outfit photos as these will help you more than almost anything else to give you feedback and you can see your style improving as you notice what’s wrong and then start improving.
So what are you waiting for? Take a baby step now – join Evolve Your Style as it’s designed with brain-based research to give you more style confidence!
This is excellent advice! It’s taken me awhile to develop my style, and I really didn’t start until I retired. (When you spend your work time in scrubs, there isn’t a lot of thought given to style). I love the embellished jeans.
Brilliant advice! My style has changed a lot since I started blogging in 2011 – I wear bolder, more colourful clothes and accessories now, veering away from classic styles. I love your jeans!
It’s interesting to watch how your style changes over time – particularly when you have heaps of photos because of blogging you can really see it!
Going back to the nineties, when I worked in a national museum and art gallery, I was quite minimal, wearing clean lined clothing in black, white and olive green (but that was partly the nineties style too). Going back to art college part time in my forties, i went a bit student in jeans and tee shirts, but a lot of the materials were messy to work with and the clothes were cheap, plus fitted in with the others. Now in retirement, and doing my own creative work, purely for myself, I seem to have become more creative in style, drawing stuff from different souces and wearing it how I like from day to day. Really dressing up, as for formal occasions, i.e black tie, is the problem for me, I shop in vain for the right thing, but the sparkly long dresses or the simple black, seem far too predicatable and off the shelf, I have yet to nail that one and feel “right” during the evening.